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Author Topic: al-Andalus Remembered  (Read 5664 times)
Samuel ibn Yaacob
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Exile is an emotion that can't easily be expressed


« on: Jul 29, 2011 11:35 PM »


Having grown up in exile there is very little that I can express, without referring to anecdotes from the elders of my family. Through their stories, I become connected to a larger picture than what I experience myself. We are all reflections of our past, and continuity is achieved through remembrance of times which have expired.

Sometimes when I see my children, I see certain attributes that remind me of my father of blessed memory, or of my mother who thank Allah, is still with me. Reflecting on these moments helps to place us in a time vacuum where the past is reflected through our offspring.

In many ways, literature and poems also helps safeguard important episodes that are meaningful to us. As do stories...Oral traditions abound in my family. Usually, the stories are repeated during happy times while cooking for certain festivals. Or during meals when every one is sitting around the table, it becomes story time, a time when one transcends the normal activity of eating. A time when communion is achieved by nurturing the body, while listening to a fascinating story of our past. These times become instrumental in understanding who we are and why we are here. Our souls, through these familial narratives, also become nurtured. In return the sustaining aspects of our families stories help us to grow, which in turn gives us our identity.

My Mother many times would cook specific culinary delights that are associated and have their past derived from Andalusian cuisine.  She would cook arroz ala Valeniciana, and would mention as the fragrance of asafran and rice the aceitunas and alcaparras were simmering in a pot. These times were vivid for me.

"Did you know?", my mom would say, "That we came from Spain" "Oh Spain what a beautiful place, a land flowing with orange blossoms and Saffron" "Palm trees and and olive groves" "Why in our region of Andalusia, we could pick the saffron when we needed it, it grew wild"

I would just stare and listen as the fragrance of her words with the actual rice, would help me to form my first ideas of who I was. I came to cherish the special times in the kitchen, a place so warm...a place of learning.

As I grew older and raised my own family, I too cook the same dishes and repeat to my children the same stories. I contribute to the continuity of my ancestors, so that we all become a kaleidoscope of our former times, present and future.  Five hundred years of exile is not forgotten. When in light of our past, through our familial historical narratives, our cuisine and our language, we are able to say, with certainty, we are connected. Connected through our history, the articulation of our ancestors and to the memory of our exiled home in al-Andalus.

Samuel ibn Ya'acob


Samuel ibn Ya'acob
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 30, 2011 03:52 AM »

Salam,

Wow brother that was incredible.  Such beautiful writing, please write more!! MashaAllah ancient Andalusia is a real passion of mine. For years, I've been trying to collect all the poetry and articles I have on the subject and have been working on a website but never get time to complete it  :'( Please check out our thread on Andalusian poetry http://jannah.org/madina/index.php?topic=33.0 There are some in Spanish too that no one has been able to translate yet  & lastly welcome to the Madina Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 30, 2011 06:03 AM »

Thank you Jannah,

I will be posting stories and poems about al-Andalus when I can. I have as you collected memories and narratives about this important period in our history. OjAllah we can share our insights. I am multi-lingual so translating poems from Spanish to English might be something I can attempt. Thank you for your kind words and welcome. Though I feel that many times words fail me, I will continue to entertain expressing myself with them.

Salam Alekem

Samuel ibn Ya'acob
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 30, 2011 07:51 AM »

Your feature coupled with sister Halima's documentary post makes me want to go to Spain right away Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 30, 2011 03:42 PM »

wsalam,

I'd like to go too and at least see the al-Hambra once in person, but think I'd be disappointed seeing deteriorating buildings, cities that have disappeared (madinat az-zahra) and mosques that have been turned into churches. I was told they arrest you if you even try to pray in them!


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« Reply #5 on: Jul 30, 2011 10:47 PM »

Thank you Akhan,
I have been planning a trip to Spain for a while, it would be fun to go there see all the sites, then take a boat ride to North Africa...

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« Reply #6 on: Aug 07, 2011 07:32 AM »

Salam brother,

Here are the poems we've collected in Spanish. Whatever you could translate would be great!!


=================

Fragmentos de algunos de los mejores poetas andalusíes, traducidos del árabe por D. Emilio García Gómez que los encontró en una pequeña antología de la lírica andaluza titulada Kitab rayab al-Mubarrazin wa-gayat almumayyazim ("Libro de las banderas de los campeones y de los estandartes de los selectos") del célebre Ibn Said al-Magribi, muerto en 1274.


La estrella fugaz

Vio la estrella a un demonio espiar furtivamente
a las puertas del cielo, y se lanzó contra él,
encendiendo un camino de llama.

Parecía un jinete a quien la rapidez de la carrera
desatara el turbante y que lo arrastrase entero tras
de sí un velo que flota.

De BEN SARA, de Santarén.
(m. 1123)

 

Lluvia sobre el río

La mano de los vientos realiza finos trabajos de
orfebre en el río, ondulado en mil arrugas.

Y siempre que ha terminado de forjar las mallas
de una loriga, la lluvia viene a enlazarlas con sus
clavillos.

Del sevillano (de Manís) ABU-L-QASIM AL-MANISI,
llamado ASA AL-AMA. (Siglo XII)

 

Castidad

Aunque estaba pronta a entregarse, me abstuve de ella,
y no obedecí la tentación que me ofrecía Satán.

Apareció sin velo en la noche, y las tinieblas nocturnas,
iluminadas por su rostro, también levantaron aquella vez sus velos.

No había mirada suya en la que no hubiera incentivos
que revolucionaban los corazones.

Mas di fuerzas al precepto divino que condena
la lujuria sobre las arrancadas caprichosas del corcel
de mi pasión, para que mi instinto no se rebelase
contra la castidad.

Y así, pasé con ella la noche como el pequeño camello sediento
al que el bozal impide mamar.

Tal, un vergel, donde para uno como yo no hay
otro provecho que el ver y el oler.

Que no soy yo como las bestias abandonadas
que toman los jardines como pasto.

De BEN FARACH, de Jaén,
autor del Libro de los Huertos.
(m. 976)

 

Disculpa

No me tachéis de inconsecuente porque mi corazón
haya sido apresado por una voz que canta:

Hay que estar serio unas veces y otras dejarse emocionar:
como la madera, de la que sale lo mismo
el arco del guerrero que el laúd del cantor.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.
(Siglo XII)

 

Profesión de "Amor udrí"

Yo soy, como quieres y deseas,
un amante apasionado, un poeta ilustre, noble, generoso.

El Iraq me ha amamantado al pecho de su amor,
Bagdad me ha conquistado con su mirada.

Cuando el dolor se prolonga, cuando la vigilia se
apodera de mis párpados, mi propio sufrir me sirve
de descanso:

Método que fundó Chamil y cuya rigidez
aumentaron los que, como yo, vinieron después.

Del poeta granadino BEN MUTARRIF.
(Siglo XIII)

 

El luto de Al-Andalus

Si es el blanco el color de los vestidos
en al-Andalus, cosa justa es.

¿No me ves a mí, que me he vestido con el blanco
de las canas, porque estoy de luto por la juventud?

De ABU-L-HASAN AL-HUSRI,
"el Ciego" (m. 1095)

 

Mutamid y su familia
embarcan para el destierro

Todo lo olvidaré menos aquella madrugada junto
al Guadaquivir, cuando estaban en las naves como
muertos en sus fosas.

Las gentes se agolpaban en las dos orillas,
mirando cómo flotaban aquellas perlas
sobre las espumas del río.

Caían los velos porque las vírgenes no se cuidaban
de cubrirse, y se desgarraban los rostros como otras
veces los mantos.

Llegó el momento, y ¡qué tumulto de adioses, qué
clamor el que a porfía lanzaban las doncellas
y los galanes!

Partieron los navíos, acompañados de sollozos,
como una perezosa caravana que el camellero arrea
con su canción.

¿Ay, cuántas lágrimas caían al agua! ¿Ay, cuántos
corazones rotos se llevaban aquellas galeras insensibles!

De BEN AL-LABBANA, de Denia
(m. 1113)

 

 El arco

Me maravillo de la ingratitud del arco,
porque no es leal con las palomas del boscaje.

Cuando era rama, fue su amigo,
y ahora que es arco las persigue.
¡Así son las vicisitudes de los tiempos!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 09, 2011 06:20 AM »

La estrella fugaz

Vio la estrella a un demonio espiar furtivamente
a las puertas del cielo, y se lanzó contra él,
encendiendo un camino de llama.

Parecía un jinete a quien la rapidez de la carrera
desatara el turbante y que lo arrastrase entero tras
de sí un velo que flota.

The Fleeting Star

The star saw a demon spying stealthily
Heavens doors, so it lunged at him,
lighting a fiery path.

Resembling a rider who with a quick gait
and untied turban dragged him like
a floating veil.

De BEN SARA, de Santarén.
(m. 1123)
translated by Samuel ibn Ya'acob

Samuel ibn Ya'acob
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« Reply #8 on: Aug 09, 2011 06:39 AM »

El luto de Al-Andalus

Si es el blanco el color de los vestidos
en al-Andalus, cosa justa es.

¿No me ves a mí, que me he vestido con el blanco
de las canas, porque estoy de luto por la juventud?

De ABU-L-HASAN AL-HUSRI,
"el Ciego" (m. 1095)

The Mourning of Al-Andalus

Yes, if white is the color of our raiment
in al-Andalus, it is justified.

Haven't you seen that I have been dressed in the white
of an old head, why am I mourning for the youth?

De ABU-L-HASAN AL-HUSRI,
"el Ciego" (m. 1095)
translated by Samuel ibn Ya'acob

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« Reply #9 on: Aug 09, 2011 07:28 AM »

Lluvia sobre el río

La mano de los vientos realiza finos trabajos de
orfebre en el río, ondulado en mil arrugas.

Y siempre que ha terminado de forjar las mallas
de una loriga, la lluvia viene a enlazarlas con sus
clavillos.

Del sevillano (de Manís) ABU-L-QASIM AL-MANISI,
llamado ASA AL-AMA. (Siglo XII)

Rain over the river

The hand of winds creates delicate goldsmithing
works  over the river, in a thousand wrinkly waves.

And when the forging of a breastplate is finished,
The rain comes and links them with her small nails.

Del sevillano (de Manís) ABU-L-QASIM AL-MANISI,
llamado ASA AL-AMA. (Siglo XII)
translated Samuel ibn Ya'acob



 

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« Reply #10 on: Aug 09, 2011 05:19 PM »

Thank you for those translations!!! Those are truly lovely.  Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: Aug 10, 2011 02:00 AM »

 El Arco

Me maravillo de la ingratitud del arco,
porque no es leal con las palomas del boscaje.

Cuando era rama, fue su amigo,
y ahora que es arco las persigue.
¡Así son las vicisitudes de los tiempos!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)

The bow

I marvel at the ingratitude of the bow,
because of its lack of loyalty with the foresting doves.

When it was but a branch, it was a friend,
and now that its a bow it pursues them.
Those are the vicissitudes of the times!

De AHMED BEN WADDAH,
apodado AL-BUQAYRA, de Murcia
(muerto hacia 1135)
translated Samuel ibn Ya'acob

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« Reply #12 on: Aug 10, 2011 07:54 AM »

The bow

I marvel at the ingratitude of the bow,
because of its lack of loyalty with the foresting doves.

When it was but a branch, it was a friend,
and now that its a bow it pursues them.
Those are the vicissitudes of the times!



It's just so STUNNING how with a few words they can build a world.  Excellent translation!
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 10, 2011 03:08 PM »

Thank you for your kind words,

Question, Where did you get this anthology? Is there more I'm curious, would you be kind enough to direct me to the source.


Salaam

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« Reply #14 on: Aug 10, 2011 04:12 PM »

I'm not sure bro. I think I found it a long time ago on a site that was actually in Spain, but now when I google it, it seems to be on many pages and blogs so don't know where it's originally from. Thanks for the translations tho...
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 10, 2011 09:09 PM »

I found the source thanks for trying anyways I love these Arabic poems!

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« Reply #16 on: Aug 11, 2011 02:29 AM »

Castidad

Aunque estaba pronta a entregarse, me abstuve de ella,
y no obedecí la tentación que me ofrecía Satán.

Apareció sin velo en la noche, y las tinieblas nocturnas,
iluminadas por su rostro, también levantaron aquella vez sus velos.

No había mirada suya en la que no hubiera incentivos
que revolucionaban los corazones.

Mas di fuerzas al precepto divino que condena
la lujuria sobre las arrancadas caprichosas del corcel
de mi pasión, para que mi instinto no se rebelase
contra la castidad.

Y así, pasé con ella la noche como el pequeño camello sediento
al que el bozal impide mamar.

Tal, un vergel, donde para uno como yo no hay
otro provecho que el ver y el oler.

Que no soy yo como las bestias abandonadas
que toman los jardines como pasto.

De BEN FARACH, de Jaén,
autor del Libro de los Huertos.
(m. 976)


Chastity

Though she was quick to surrender herself to me, I abstained,
neither was I obedient towards the temptation that Satan offered me.

She appeared without veil at night, and the twilight,
illuminated by her countenance, also lifted further her veils.

There was not a glance from you that did not yield incentives
which would not revolutionize many hearts.

Even so, I was strengthened by the divine precept which condemns
the lustful drive of a capricious steed's
passion, so that instinctively I would not rebel
against chastity.

That is how I spent the night like a camel's thirsty calf
by which a muzzle impedes suckling.

like an orchard, when someone like me has no advantage
other than to see and smell.

I am not like abandoned beasts
who devour gardens like pasture.

De BEN FARACH, de Jaén,
autor del Libro de los Huertos.
(m. 976)
translated Samuel ibn Ya'acob

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« Reply #17 on: Aug 11, 2011 06:13 AM »

Frederico Garcia Lorca has a book of Andalusian Arab poems which he translated into Spanish and  is excellent I heard. It's only in Spanish though but maybe you can find it in a bookstore somewhere.  I've heard he is also descended from Andalusians but not sure of his background. His own poetry is of course amazing as well and echoes the brilliance of ancient poems.  It almost makes me want to learn Spanish Smiley

There is one anthology of Andalusian poetry in English that is pretty huge, but has been out of print for a few decades. Every now and then I try to find it, but I think it's disappeared. The only book I have is a tiny one called Andalusian Poetry which is an actual English translation of some of Lorca's Spanish translations of original Andalusian Arabic poetry! And they are still amazing!! Wink

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« Reply #18 on: Aug 11, 2011 06:46 AM »

Thank you Sister,

I will try to find the Lorca poems and I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness too.

side note: If I see that a poem that I translated needs something, I will fix it, Spanish is fascinating in that it says many things in small sentences or words have double meanings too. The hardship is trying to capture the mood of the poem without adding or subtracting from it. That takes a lot of thought, I'm trying to take my time while I savoir the meanings. 

Salaam

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« Reply #19 on: Aug 13, 2011 06:32 AM »

From Andalusian poet Isma’il Ibn Naghrela aka Sh'emuel hanagid:


MAN’S WISDOM IS IN WHAT HE WRITES

Man's wisdom is in what he writes,
good sense at the end of his pen;
and using his pen he can climb to the height
of the scepter in the hand of his king.

Translated by Peter Cole

Cole, Peter (2007-01-02). The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 (Kindle Location 1279). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

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« Reply #20 on: Aug 13, 2011 07:23 AM »

Disculpa

No me tachéis de inconsecuente porque mi corazón
haya sido apresado por una voz que canta:

Hay que estar serio unas veces y otras dejarse emocionar:
como la madera, de la que sale lo mismo
el arco del guerrero que el laúd del cantor.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.


Apology

Don't accuse me of being inconsistent because my heart
has been seized by a voice that sings:

One must be serious and at other times let oneself be moved:
like wood, which brings forth both
the warriors bow and the singers lute.

Del alfaquí cordobés IBRAHIM BEN UTMAN.
translated by Samuel ibn Ya'acob

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« Reply #21 on: Aug 13, 2011 07:28 AM »

salam,

I really don't know how you translate these. I tried translating something once and it took me ages... there's always that internal fight between trying to translate literally but wanting to express the beauty of the other language and it's meaning! And sometimes it's just impossible!! Have a bebzi on us   bebzi

Here's a link from the other thread of some Jewish Andalusian poems I found: http://jannah.org/madina/index.php?topic=33.msg11597#msg11597

I think we I'll add some of the poetry over here, over there sometime too...
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« Reply #22 on: Aug 13, 2011 07:48 AM »

Maybe we should make a list of good books on the subject??  I'll add a few here, if only I had an endless supply of money for poetry books and also shelf space!! Wink

All out of print, these are so hard to get and are about $50-150 each!! I think some really old libraries might have some. Might try inter-library loan...


Moorish Poetry: A Translation of The Pennants, and Anthology Compiled in 1243 by the Andalusian Ibn Sa'id
A.J. Arberry (Editor)
Hardcover: 220 pages
Publisher: Routledge (April 25, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0700714286
ISBN-13: 978-0700714285


Title    The banners of the champions: an anthology of medieval Arabic poetry from Andalusia and beyond
Authors   ʻAlī ibn Mūsá Ibn Saʻīd, James A. Bellamy, Patricia Owen Steiner
Editors   James A. Bellamy, Patricia Owen Steiner
Translated by   James A. Bellamy, Patricia Owen Steiner
Contributor   ʻAlī ibn Mūsá Ibn Saʻīd
Publisher   Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1989
Original from   the University of Michigan
Digitized   May 8, 2008
ISBN   0940639270, 9780940639270
Length   238 pages


Title   Andalusian poems
Authors   Christopher Middleton, Leticia Garza-Falcón
Editors   Christopher Middleton, Leticia Garza-Falcón
Translated by   Christopher Middleton, Leticia Garza-Falcón
Publisher   D.R. Godine, Publisher, 1993
ISBN   0879238879, 9780879238872
Length   86 pages


Title   Hispano-Arabic poetry: a student anthology
Author   James T. Monroe
Publisher   Gorgias Press LLC, 2004
ISBN   1593331150, 9781593331153
Length   402 pages


Title   Hispano-Arabic poetry, and its relations with the old Provenc̜al troubadours
Author   Alois Richard Nykl
Edition   reprint
Publisher   Printed by J.H. Furst Company, 1946
Original from   the University of Michigan
Digitized   Apr 24, 2008
Length   416 pages
Samuel ibn Yaacob
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« Reply #23 on: Aug 13, 2011 08:00 AM »

Jannah,

I hope you can use these translations, I have been working on them pleasurably. My brother just bought me a hundred dollar poetry book that I desired  sudanibro, he liked my translations so much. In that respect, thank you for inciting me into translating these poems. It worked out that I got recompensed for the work, it seems that Allah was watching over me and gave me a book I could not afford. I love books but sometimes I desire more than I can afford.

side note: I've always desired a large wood filled library, filled with books floor to ceiling.  With a large wooden desk and a comfortable leather chair that rolls around easily. I am working on this project since I was young I have been collecting books. InshaAllah someday this might happen. Just a thought.

Samuel ibn Ya'acob
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« Reply #24 on: Aug 13, 2011 08:15 AM »

Samuel, that's great! You should definitely try to find a publisher for your translations of these poems!! It's really rare to find these Spanish one's translated into English.

I totally know what you mean about books! But one thing I have no hesitation about spending money over are really good books! There was one Hadith book I bought 10 years ago that I paid $20 for that really made me cringe at the time, but the book is such a beautiful collection and beautifully printed, and really helped me throughout all these years...and I've tried to find that same book everywhere to give to friends but it's just out of print and gone!! Some books you will just never find again.  So definitely enjoy and treasure yours  bookworm
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